Friendships are so important to our wellbeing. As a therapist, one of the first things I ask about when working with a new client is their support network. Family is significant but as the saying goes ‘You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends’, so it’s absolutely vital that we have some good awareness around friendships and our patterns!
Here are the 5 types of friends that you need in your life;
THE ONE THAT NEVER JUDGES YOU
This is the friend that you dare go to no matter what you’re struggling with. The friend that may even look after you in a ‘nurturing mum’ kind of way sometimes. Perhaps they’re responsible (or at least a little more responsible than you) and they give good advice when you’re feeling down on yourself. They check up on you when you go off the radar, remember important things you might have coming up and send thoughtful messages so you feel loved. Most importantly you feel they really like the real you no matter what you do.
THE BLACK AND WHITE THINKER
The friend that you go to when you need to rant, you need someone to give you some brutal truths or help you with your boundaries around something whether it’s relationship problems, a work issue or just taking something back to a store to complain! They will sort things out, put people straight and say it how it is.
THE SPONTANEOUS FUN ONE
That friend that reminds you not to be so much of a worrier or control freak! Always planning their next adventure, watching how they operate and float through life inspires you to get back to your inner child and do some things just because you feel like it rather than because you think you ‘should’ be doing them. They live by a moto of ‘If it feels good, do it’ and it seems to work out for them most of the time. Let’s be honest, a lot of our worrying doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose anyway, so their care-free fearless approach always gets us back on track for more fun.
THE HELPLESS WORRIER
This is the one that you can look after a bit. There’s always someone who worries or stresses out more than us and its nice to be able to support others and see ourselves in other people’s vulnerabilities. Feeling of use to our friends helps our self esteem and confidence grow and is a very important part of being a human and relating to others.
THE SAFE FRIEND
This is the one that for whatever reason, you don’t quite know as well. The work colleague or neighbour that you get on with but doesn’t quite know all your vulnerabilities, mistakes and secrets and neither do you know theirs. These are the friendships that can feel safe and tend not to get too messy like the deeper friendships naturally can. The one you can pull-off coming across as (semi) professional or grown up.
Our significant friendships or friendship patterns can sometimes mirror ‘early life patterns’ we had with our family members growing up. If we had a mother that was strict or very ‘black and white’ in her thinking, we may find this becomes a common trait we attract in our friendships. If our father was irresponsible this may also be a trait we are unconsciously drawn to in friends. Those of us that come from a large family may find life is full of group activities or feel uncomfortable on our own. Whatever your friendship strengths and issues it can be helpful to look back and consider if the way you feel in each of your friendships presently is familiar to how you felt in your family growing up. Raising our awareness is the greatest step to becoming more empowered in this important area of our life.